"Unpredictable" and "fluid" are suitable adjectives that describe the nature of the Uttermost Road. I had anticipated uncertain road conditions long before I actually set sail for the first time, some two and a half years ago. Even the decision-making process of taking this path was riddled with unknowns. Many still remain unsolved.
This past fall, a big bend in the road led me to southern California. Except for two brief trips to Oregon via Southwest Airlines, I've been living in S Cal with my trailer parked at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains. The journey to this part of the country, and then to live here for several months, wasn't in my original "plan" when I set out along the Uttermost Road. Now that I find myself in The Golden State, several questions as to my purpose for being here have yet to be mined and brought to the surface of my understanding. But had I not followed this road with all its uncertainties, I would never have experienced the blessings I've received or crossed paths with the people I now call my friends.
Perhaps its more freeing to be carried along by the currents of the Wind than to remain tethered to self-made plans and "hell-bent" on pursuing a predetermined course. I'm beginning to believe that the ground of uncertainty is incredibly fertile soil for peace and abundant life to grow and flourish. Imagine that!
Jesus essentially said two things in this regard:
- Peace I give to you, but not the world's kind of peace. It's My peace. (John 14:27).
- I've come that you might have life and experience it abundantly (John 10:10).
Each bend in the road is a vivid reminder of life's uncertainties. For me, every curve I maneuver in my truck with trailer in tow is an object lesson about my inability to see around corners and predict the future. However, I'm learning to live with this reality . . . the fact that I'm not in control . . . and to do so with a new measure of peace in the midst of unknowing, in the middle of what might otherwise cause stress and anxiety.
The apostle Paul exhorts his readers in Philippians 4:6 not to be "anxious" about anything. Easier said than done, brother. Nevertheless, it's great advice. In fact, the only way I know how to deal with anxiety or to embrace uncertainty without fear, is to receive the embrace of the One who is prepared for every possibility. This One has already traveled down every conceivable avenue I might choose to trek . . . and waits there for me.
The Message Bible describes Philippians 4:6-7 in the following way:
"Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." (Philippians 4:6-7)
I'm intrigued by the imagery here in The Message . . . "shape your worries into prayers." Exactly! And I like to think of prayer, not as mere verbal appeal to a higher power who needs to be persuaded, but simply as being present to the One who is always present to me and in me. I appreciate how Eugene Peterson powerfully states it in verse seven . . . "when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."
Christ displaces worry . . . yes!
Displacement = replacement
Think about it, it only takes one small flame to displace or remove the weight of uncertainty in an otherwise darkened room.
"The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out." (CEV)
When you feel overwhelmed by anxiety, be reminded that peace is within you because the Prince of Peace is within you. When waves of uncertainty lap up against you, be reminded that the One who calms the storm abides in you. When it feels like darkness has surrounded you, be reminded that the Light who has come into the world has come into you!
Fear not . . . so LYGO!